On Tuesday 4th February a meeting with academics from Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Department and Psychology Department took place at University of Essex. A presentation was given by the project lead Eduardo Audiche which showed what SIGHT is, how it works and the most important details of the project “Inclusive multi-sensor platform for autistic kids that encourage social interaction” implemented at Stepping Stones Play and Learn Group premises in Colchester.
Eduardo explained that the project consists of an integrated platform which promote collaborative learning (multi-user application) with customisable content. It works with a fixed ceiling equipment that projects onto the floor or a table. There is one master remote control used to choose the app and then the children interaction on the floor or table is trough motion. What makes this project special and unique is not only the technology involved, but the apps that have been especially designed for autistic kids (more than 200 applications) and that can be programmed according to the children needs and curriculum expectations.
The main project objective is to create an inclusive multi-sensory space that encourages active engagement through motion for children with disabilities improving their social and cognitive development.
Eduardo also explained that the system is not intelligent enough to collect data or keep a track of kids’ performance. The way to collect data is through a manually filled form where the staff will add the date, children range age, apps used, how long they are on them for and what they have achieved. Data is also collected periodically through questionnaires for parents and careers.
In order to prove that the platform does have a positive effect on children’s behaviour, formal assessment tools of behaviour/cognitive abilities are required alongside metrics and indicators with which to assess the project’s impact. Eduardo asked support on this matter, so the academics gave him their suggestions and feedback which were well received and are being analysed and, in the process, to be included.
Finally, Eduardo showed some videos from previous sessions to give an idea how the equipment performs.
The next project step is a session training to Stepping Stones staff that will have place on 19th February 2020. In this training session, personnel from the equipment manufacturer will show advanced features about how to use the equipment and will answer all the questions raised during this first one and a half months of project.